Jay McClement (St. Louis Blues, 2nd round 2001)
Jay has good reason to be very proud of his first 15 games of the 2001-2002 season. In fact, apart from Battalion captain Kurt MacSweyn, it could easily be said that Jay has been the team’s best two-way forward, a style of play that he will definitely depend on if and when he cracks the Blues’ lineup.
After potting 30 goals in his sophomore OHL season, he has continued that pace in his third year in the league, with 7 goals in his first 15 games. What’s more, he has been able to keep up that pace without the benefit of Raffi Torres (now with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL) and Lukas Havel (playing professionally in the Czech Republic) as his linemates. Several of his goals have been of the highlight variety, including a short-handed marker against the Erie Otters that featured him splitting the defence and putting a move on Adam Munro that still has Munro looking for his jockstrap. McClement has only three assists thus far this year, due to several factors. For one, McClement’s versatility allows coach Stan Butler to play him in all situations, including defensive roles that don’t allow McClement to play with the team’s more offensive weapons. Perhaps more importantly, his left winger (Chris Rowan) has taken until the last few games to get untracked, and his right winger (Aaron Van Leusen – Detroit, 4th round 2000) has missed nine games with an injury.
McClement is the type of player that any coach wants on the ice to protect a one-goal lead in the final minute. His innate ability to g Read more»
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Greg Pankewicz — Pensacola Ice Pilots
The 6-0 and 200-pound Pankewicz scored two goals and had five assists in
Pensacolao’s two games at Florida over the weekend, and he leads the East
Coast Hockey League with 13 assists and 17 points in seven games.
GOALIE OF THE WEEK:
Tyrone Garner — Greenville Grrrowl
The 23-year-old Garner went 2-1-0 with a 1.88 goals against average and a
.950 save percentage while playing three games in three nights. He opened
the week with a 3-1 loss against Trenton on Thursday, but rebounded on
Friday making 39 saves and picking up an assist in a 4-1 win against Macon.
The 6-3 and 200-pound Garner closed out the week with 35 saves in a 4-1 win
at Richmond to improve to 4-2-1 with a 1.82 goals against average and a .942
save percentage. Garner, who was drafted in the fourth round (96th overall)
by the New York Islanders in 1996, leads the ECHL with 211 saves.
NORTHERN CONFERENCE NOTES:
ROANOKE: The Roanoke Express lost in regulation for the first time this
season in Charlotte on Friday night, but bounced back on Saturday beating
Wheeling. The Express is now 6-1-1 and faces a home and home series against
Atlantic City this weekend. Goal scorers this week : Rick Kowalsky, Joe
Dusbabek, Bret DeCecco, Frank Novock, and Terence Tootoo.
The Renegades are now 5-2 after splitting two games at home last
weekend. Rod Taylor played in his 596th career ECHL game Saturday. He can
tie the league record held by Bob Woods Sunday in Cincinnati. T Read more»
Rats are re-stocked with veterans
The New Jersey Devils have bolstered the Albany River Rats with the signing of three veteran players in the past week. Forwards Bruce Gardiner and Steve Guolla and defenseman Joel Bouchard joined the club and played this past weekend.
While the mission of the minor league club continues to be developing “prospects” for the NHL, in a nod to the more competitive nature of the American Hockey League in recent years (a trend accelerated by the merger or acquisition of former International Hockey League teams), the Devils for the first time in recent memory will have a roster that will allow the team to field a maximum of six “veterans”.
The incoming players join Richard Rochefort, Sylvain Cloutier (out with a knee injury) and Ted Drury. These players, as well as Gardiner, Guolla and Bouchard have played more than 260 combined NHL and AHL games.
The Devils and Rats have not gone overboard, and will not face the situation of being forced to sit a veteran every game to avoid the veteran player ceiling. Indeed, as of the moment, with Captain Sylvain Cloutier still out with a knee injury, the Rats have only five “veterans” on the roster.
The transactions which bolstered the River Rats started on October 21, when the Devils signed Gardiner and Guolla. They were placed on waivers, and after getting no takers from NHL clubs, were assigned to Albany. Both were in the starting lineup on Friday as the River Rats visited Rochester. Bouchard was signed on October 25 and cleared waivers the next day Read more»
The season has started and the early season marks are already starting to come in. There are a few surprises and a few things that, well, aren’t such surprises. In the Eastern Division the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders are in 1st place by percentage points. Going off of total points, they are tied for first with the Des Moines Buccaneers and the Rochester Mustangs. The Mustangs are the biggest surprise of the season to date. Last season the Mustangs mustered only 11 victories and they are off to a 6-4 start. In the Western Division the Sioux Falls Stampede lead the way with a 9-2 record for 18 points but the Sioux City Musketeers are right on their heels with a 8-2 record for 16 points.
Superstar Thomas Vanek of the Sioux Falls Stampede is currently leading the league in scoring with 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points. Vanek has already registered two hat tricks, against Tulsa and Sioux City. Not far behind are three Sioux City Musketeers, Brad Zancanaro (7-16-23), Brandon Schwartz (8-13-21) and Matt Ciancio (7-10-17).
Just as it was last season Art Femenella of the Sioux City Musketeers and Tim Conboy are fighting for the penalty minutes lead. In 9 games Femenella already has 52.
As always, this league is full of fantastic goaltenders and this year is no different. So far, the top goaltender in the league statistically wise is Kris Mayotte of Sioux City. In 5 games he is 5-0 with a 1.40 GAA and .942 saves percentage. Bobby Goepfert, considered by most, including myself, the top minder in the league, is currently 6-2 with a 2.32 GAA Read more»